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A Lost Argument

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The summer after her freshman year at all-Mormon Brigham Young University, Marguerite Farnsworth falls in love with philosophy by way of falling in love with an atheist philosophy student. Her search for Truth (with a capital T), God, the meaning of life, and a boyfriend leads her away from religious belief, but along the way she learns there are things even atheists can h ...more
Paperback, 1st Edition, 260 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Strange Violin Editions (first published August 18th 2011)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  42 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside)
I'm unsure exactly where I come down on this book, so I'm splitting the difference and giving it a nice, safe middle rating.

There were things I enjoyed and things I did not.

What I liked: it's fascinating to watch the journey out of religion, and for many people/characters, it's also emotionally wrenching to experience that particular journey. This book struck a chord with me since, like the main character Marguerite, I was raised Mormon and eventually left the Church when I was in m
Soren Narnia
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an unusually sensitive and skillfully rendered portrait of a young woman's search for a way to reconcile her religious beliefs with her yearning for the kind of love she, and anyone her age, craves. It's a universal dilemma and a universal struggle, so the story can be enjoyed by anyone who has ever had any sort of crisis of faith or beliefs, or even just a sense that the world can't provide everything you desire unless you embark upon a profound change within yourself. There's enough hu ...more
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Theresa Doucet is a very good writer. I hope she keeps writing, and I look forward to reading more of her work.

Let me first say how I came to this novel, A LOST ARGUMENT.

I follow a few Mormon blogs, including some a little more scholarly than others. (I aspire.) Since I do some writing myself, I also pay particular attention to new writers in the Mormon tradition, since that's my background, too. On one of the blogs, I noticed a discussion about this book. I followed some hyperlinks
Steven Peck
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Almost an anti-romance, this book follows a young lady's search for love that ends in a love for truth. I found this book with its portrayal of the stark realities of relationships and the challenges of existence a clear-eyed examination of some of life's most difficult questions. What I loved most about the book was that it did not shy away from going more deeply into philosophy than about any book I can remember since The Elegance of the Hedgehog. It follows a path that ranges from Kierkegaard to Marqu ...more
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Therese Doucet writes an interesting look at a young woman, raised in the Mormon faith, who goes off to college and struggles with her spirituality. Raised in such a strict faith and attending Brigham Young University, founded by the Mormon church, Marguerite struggles with faith, God, and morals while trying to find herself. Marguerite is a smart girl, pushing herself in her studies and trying to learn as much about philospohy and religion as she can. The novel takes place over the course of a ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this review, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Writing a semi-autobiographical novel, especially as one's first book, can be a cathartic experience but also one laced with challenges, as neatly demonstrated by Therese Doucet's "recovered Mormon" tale A Lost Argument, precisely because it can be difficult to for the author to separate themselves fro
Sep 16, 2011 rated it liked it
"A Lost Argument" chronicles the intellectual journey of Marguerite Farnsworth from a faithful, if questioning, LDS girl to an agnostic, mature, questing young woman.

I would love to be friends with Marguerite. She's intelligent, well-read, thinks deeply, and cares deeply about those around her. Her flaws are difficulties I have faced (though in miniature--I've never struggled with suicidal thoughts as she does). There was a time in my life this book would have been a life saver just
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is an intriguing book. It was a fun and thought-provoking story that surprised me with its sharp psychology as well as with its take on philosophy.
I enjoyed the main character, Marguerite, a complex young woman searching for Truth, and, possibly, for love. Her diary entries were my favorite part, since we got an honest look into the psyche of someone struggling with faith and with life in general. She had some moments where her indecisiveness made the reader want to throttle her, but I sup
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed A lost Argument, especially the 2nd half. This is a great book for discussion. Philosophy and Faith are difficult topics to write about and sometimes harder to read. Therese did a wonderful job. I am sending this book on to a friend so we can have our discussion/debate!

I received this book free through a Goodreads giveaway.
Geoffrey Kabaservice
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful intellectual/personal/romantic novel about the narrator's journey out of Mormonism. Beautifully written, funny, and poignant. Highly recommended!
Chris Maroney
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look a metamorphosis of faith. Comming from a common background it was interesting to see the path traveled and the ending point of the authors belief and faith in a higher power. The development of the main character and her relationships was, for the most part, well done. I followed her evolving beliefs and could see how they were justified through the events taking place until the last chapter. I would liked to have seen a couple more chapters detailing the path from belief in a ...more
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as a give-away. In fact, I would never have bought it because of the terrible cover...
Now I've finished the book, I'm glad I received a copy, because I really liked it.

In Belgium we're not that religious, so it's a bit of an uncommon subject. The first part makes me think of a love triangle with all its difficulties. I think it's pretty comparable.
I also loved the way Margareth discussed with John and her friends about her believes and her anxieties.

It was fascinating ho
Jun 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
I tried to like this little book---evidenced by the fact that even though I couldn't enjoy it, I finished it.
I love to read of peoples' personal experiences as they seek and find or lose their faith. My problem with this book was just the style of writing. It kept feeling to me to be very very self-conscious and sophomoric. Frankly, I think I didn't believe at all that it was fiction. It read too much like a memoir---and if it had identified itself as one, I would have enjoyed it better an
Angela Clayton
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
As a memoir (or thinly veiled one), I really enjoyed this and found a lot to identify with from my own young Mormon life at BYU. I didn't relate to the depression aspect as much, but overall, I found her story compelling and told in a way that was intriguing. I didn't find the conclusions inevitable, and the protagonist gets caught up in her head a lot, but I still felt inclined to care.
Angie Hardy
Oct 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads. This was an interesting book. Overall I enjoyed this book and found it to be thought-provoking. I think discussions about this book could be fascinating.

Jan 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, mormon-stuff
I found this absolutely unreadable. I can't believe the author thought anyone would be interested in blow-by-blow accounts of COLLEGE GERMAN STUDY SESSIONS and of appallingly pedestrian conversations this extremely inexperienced, naive young woman has with a guy she has a crush on who may or may not have a crush on her back. Juvenile, pretentious, bloated, and poorly edited.
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked the dramatic, traditional narrative trajectory of Part I. It pits an innocent, college-aged Mormon woman against real arguments to her faith. I was also riveted by the love story. At first, I felt tricked by a particular scene toward the end of Part I, but I have since thought that it had the appropriate effect of emphasizing in the reader's mind just how much Marguerite longed for being loved and wanted. The author handles the characters and scenes in Part I well, maintaining a balance ...more
Jan 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Overall, I definitely enjoyed this one. I don't know if this was intentional or not, but I kind of loved how the cover and even the title (especially the "A Latter-Day Novel" part) struck me as so...LDS. My grandmother used to send me lame LDS novels as a young teen and the cover of this just struck me as so similar to those "faith-promoting" works somehow.

I loved how inside the mind of the the main character you get. By the end of the book I felt like she was a real person. Of course, much of
Jeff Raymond
There was a movie that came out 10 or so years ago by Richard Linklater called Waking Life. It was a strange movie, for sure, but had its moments as it took a loose narrative and attached a significant philosophical discussion/debate around the plot. At the end of the day, the movie didn't do a ton for me, but it was an interesting way to present a certain philosophy.

A Lost Argument is very much a literary Waking Life in a lot of ways, as the story follows a female Mormon student as she traverses life a/>A
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was an intriguing, and sometimes painful, look at the struggle to find meaning in life, to find meaning in faith. Marguerite's inner turmoil was alternately completely relate-able, and completely frustrating to me. As I journeyed with her I wondered why she made the decisions she did. Why not ask for more help from friends and family? Why not seek professional medical help sooner? Why wait on a silent God? How can she keep having faith when she's not getting any answers? Why resign her ...more
Philip Shade
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A book about faith, love, and philosophy.

The story follows college girl Marguerite as her devout Mormon faith founder against the edges of her newfound secular friends. The result is a challenging spiritual, mental, philosophical, and physical awakening that takes often unexpected turns.

First off as a freshman book I'll admit there are some rough edges to the narration. Exchanges between characters can be too story specific, lacking the discovery of natural conversation. That said t
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This is an interesting book about a young Morman philosophy student who experiences a crisis of faith. The book veers from first to third person which can leave you feeling a bit jangled and if you are not familiar with the German existentialists, then you will probably get a headache trying to follow all the references.

This young virgin spends a lot of time thinking about men and sex and philosophy and is also struggling with depression. I want to ask the protagonist to give Buddhis
Oct 05, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm torn on how to review this book. I enjoyed watching the journey unfold, however I'm not sure I liked the switching back and forth from first person to third person. It felt clunky for me.

I did, however, quite enjoy all of the philosophical arguments that went on.
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
I like the concept of this book but found the main character to be quite whiny. Also sad there was never any resolution with her boy issue, but I guess that is real life.
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My historical novel with magical realist elements, "The Prisoner of the Castle of Enlightenment," will be published by D.X. Varos in February 2020. I'm also the author of "A Lost Argument: A Latter-Day Novel," published through my own Strange Violin Editions micropress imprint in 2011.

My fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in literary magazines including Embark, Hotel Amerika, and Bayou
“Maybe I’m strange and perverse, but I’ve always thought there was something sexy about a compelling argument.” 33 likes
“I want to see the world without explaining away its mystery by calling things wicked, righteous, sinful, and good. I want to erase in myself the easy explanations, the always mendacious explanations about why things happen the way they do, and in this way, come to know the mystery of being–-not by any approximation in thought, but by being. I want to be and not be ashamed of being.” 22 likes
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